How to Paint a T-Shirt

Have you ever been able to find the exact shirt you wanted for a party, event, or rally? Or maybe you wanted to do something entertaining on a dull day? How about painting your t-shirt?

Making something creative and unique from a plain, boring t-shirt is easy with this technique. From freehand to stencils to spray paint, there are many ways to paint t-shirts.

Procedure 1: Painting with Paintbrushes:

Step 1.

The t-shirt should be plain and washable, so it doesn't shrink. No matter how pre-shrunk your shirt is, it would help if you washed it anyway. In this way, the paint will adhere appropriately since the starch or stiffener will be removed.

Step 2.

Make sure you have a work area. Prepare a table by spreading out some newspapers and removing anything that might get damaged. Keeping a few paper towels (for blotting and rinsing the paintbrush) and a cup of water handy will also be helpful.

Step 3.

The inside of the T-shirt should be lined with cardboard. It should be of a similar size to the shirt. The back of the shirt will not absorb the paint. Folding a newspaper is an excellent way to accomplish this. Old magazines and catalogs work just as well.

Step 4.

Create your design using fabric paint. Before filling it in freehand, you can use a stencil and a permanent marker to trace your design. Make use of various brushes; a flat brush will create crisp edges, whereas a pointy brush will help you give your plans more definition. It is essential to do the background color first if you are designing something with multiple colors, such as a smiley face. After you have painted the background, you can focus on the details. Consider getting fabric painting brushes. Their bristles are usually made of Taklon. Camel hair brushes are a terrible choice because they won't hold the thick paint and will make your designs look ugly.

Step 5.

Ensure that the paint has dried completely before moving forward. You can use a hairdryer to blow the color so that it dries more quickly. The cardboard inside the shirt should be removed after the paint has dried. It is also possible to paint the back once the paint has dried. Let the paint dry inside the shirt after the cardboard is removed. The cardboard needs to be thrown away as soon as possible. If you notice any issue with the paint sticking to the cardboard, there is no need to be distressed.

Step 6.

You can separate the cardboard from the shirt by wriggling your finger between the two. If you don't intend to use the cardboard for another project, then you can dispose of it when you're done.

Procedure 2: Using Stencils

Step 1.

Get your shirt washed. You can starch to eliminate shrinks. Your shirt will hold paint much better when you wash it.

 Step 2.

Set up the workspace correctly. The table should be piled high with newspapers. It would help if you prepared paper towels, paper plates (or pallets), and cups filled with water before starting.


Your t-shirt should be lined with a piece of cardboard. If you do this, the paint from the front will not transfer to the back of your shirt. An old magazine or newspaper folded up will work as a substitute for cardboard if you do not have it. Ensure that the paper is wrinkle-free.

 Step 4.

Be sure to secure your stencil after positioning it. There are many stencils available for use with fabric painting. You can either purchase a stencil from a store or create your own using thin plastic, freezer paper, or cardstock. There are even ways to create geometric patterns using painter's tape! To prevent paint soak into your shirt, place the stencil flat against your shirt to prevent paint from bleeding under the edges. The stencil will likely have a sticky back if intended for painting fabric. It only needs to be smoothed down.

 Step 5.

Repositionable adhesive spray should be sprayed onto the back of the stencil before pressing it onto the surface. If you are using a stencil or making your own, you can do this right away. The back of the stencil, whether made of regular stencil material or one you have created yourself, should be coated with repositionable adhesive spray. Before applying the stencil, press the stencil into place.

 Step 6.

Use the paint to cover a paper plate. If you wish to work with multiple colors, separate each color onto a separate container. Use your foam brush to dab the paint into the foam brush. You can use a mini paint roller. A paintbrush is another option. Stencils made of delicate material will work well with a paintbrush.

 Step 7.

Painting the stencil is essential. Tap and dab until the stencil is thoroughly covered—work from the stencil's edge toward the middle. While you're painting, you don't want the paint to leak.


 Step 8.

Please take off the stencil before it dries. It is likely that after fabric paint dries, a thick layer of paint will form, and you will be at risk of tearing the color if you remove it too late. If you don't have cardboard, you can use a folded-up magazine or newspaper. You will have a more durable design. Over the design, iron over a piece of cotton fabric. You can now put it back on the shirt once the cardboard has been removed.


You don't have to be an experienced painter to learn how to paint a t-shirt. You won't be disappointed with the outcome.